a Project of the Mockingbird Foundation

Performances Song History Lyrics

In a Hole

Also Known As: What You Will

Music/Lyrics: Anastasio

Vocals: Page

Debut: 1989-10-20

Historian: Jeremy D. Goodwin

Page sings this sprightly little ditty, which was played eight times in fall 1989, only to subsequently disappear from the Phish universe. It reflects the band’s jazzier leanings back in the Burlington days. The lyrics tell a story which, if not a straight transcription of a dream, is in any case dreamlike. The first-person narrator recounts his experiences running though a field, falling into a hole, and experiencing a harrowing plunge into the depths of the crevice. He somehow escapes, though it is only a momentary reprieve before he repeats his mistake, perhaps in the midst of an impenetrable cycle.

“In a Hole” debuted on 10/20/89, the first of three celebrated nights at The Front. This original incarnation (a hot jazz number) featured Dave Grippo and Russ Remington on alto and tenor saxes, respectively. It swings unrelentingly. This tune was played four times in the brief span between its debut and 10/26/89, and then popped up four more times between 11/30/89 and 12/16/89. Sadly it has yet to appear again. “In a Hole” die-hards can take some solace in the fact that it has been sound-checked as recently as 7/4/99, possibly portending a breakout?

The song's title was apparently still undetermined by 10/26/89, where Trey introduced it saying "Call it what you will," followed by a seemingly joking reference that the song was called "What You Will." According to Mike, the only reason Phish ever performed the song at all was the fact that the song’s original ending featured everyone emphatically singing at the end of the song, the lyrics “I’m in a hole, I’m in a hole, I’m an A-HOLE,” which can decisively be heard on the 10/26/89 version.

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Zappa Reply
A bust out that few would recognize. I'd welcome it back with open arms.
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makisupaman Reply
makisupaman Love it! Bring it back anytime!
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